Sleep Apnea is a common disorder that causes interruptions in breathing during sleep, preventing oxygen from reaching the brain. Sufferers wake hundreds of times per night, each time normal breathing is interrupted and the brain is depleted of oxygen. As a result, they never feel rested and experience excessive daytime grogginess. It is not a disease but increases risks of contracting other diseases and conditions. There are three types: obstructive, central and complex, which is a combination of the first two.
Central Sleep Apnea is caused when the brain fails to properly signal the muscles to breath. It is very uncommon and snoring is generally not a symptom.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea, with some estimates at 1 in 7 people in the U.S being afflicted with some form of OSA. In OSA, the muscles around the throat and airway relax, causing the airway to collapse. Sometimes the tongue falls back and obstructs the airway. The brain can no longer receive oxygen and sends a signal to the muscles to open, often causing the person to wake up with a gasp or a snort. Most of the time, sufferers do not recall waking up during these episodes.